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Smoky Pulled Pork (Oven or Slow Cooker)

close up of a fork shredding pulled pork

When you want smokey pulled pork but can’t be home all day watching the BBQ Smoker, this is what you need to do—tender, succulent Slow-Cooked Smoky Pulled Pork.

If you’ve read some of my other posts or been to any of my evening meals classes, then you’ll know I make a lot of my own spice blends.  I’ve given you the recipe for this one below, but I’ve got loads more in these eBooks. They’re like my get out of jail free card when I don’t know what to cook for dinner, and in some cases when I’ve only got a few minutes to decide.

Classes if you are local (Melbourne) or Zooms from anywhere 🙂

Anyway, back to this one.  I don’t just use this spice blend for pulled pork.  I use it in any dish I want a smokey flavour, but this slow-cooked pork is one of my hubbies favourites.  That’s saying something when I consider him the king of brisket and pork ribs in our house.

He’s even uttered the words “why do I bother” because he knows this dish is so easy to prepare and it tastes great.  He goes to so much effort to make his smoked meats, a whole day of keeping an eye on it, adjusting temperatures and settings. Although I do appreciate all the effort, I’m happy to just bang mine in the slow cooker.  I suppose I’m more of a lazy cook.  I think I’ve said that before 🙂

Ingredients for pulled pork spice blend

  • Chilli flakes.  You can leave these out if you don’t like a little heat. 
  • Bell pepper flakes if you can’t find these leave them out.  You may find them in a deli or Indian supermarket.  I’ve added them for sweetness.  You can use sweet paprika in the same quantity, but the flakes are better in my opinion.
  • Smoked paprika this is where we’re getting that wonderful BBQ flavour without all the work. 
  • The spices. I’ve chosen these particular dried spices for the pork because they give a lovely balance to the pork and smokey paprika flavour.
    • thyme leaves 
    • ground cinnamon
    • ground cumin powder
    • star anise powder
  • Dark brown sugar is better here, it has those lovely rich molasses notes. 
  • Salt.  Don’t leave this out, it’s there to heighten the flavour.  Meat and Salt are made for each other. 

Ingredients for the Slow-Cooked Pork recipe

  • Pork: I like an Asian cut called Pork neck.  It is a beautiful succulent piece of meat, if you can’t get that, you can use the shoulder. 
  • Spice Blend: How much of my spice blend you use depends on the size of your pork neck and your taste. They’re usually around the 1.5 – 1.6 kg mark.  I go the full 3tbsp but I like it a lot.  LOL
  • Salt: Yes I know there is already some in the spice blend but use more, it needs it, honest.  I really do prefer flaked salt, I know it sounds strange but it’s not as salty, maybe more minerally.  Is that a word?
  • Onion: brown or red.  Up to you.  Red is sweeter so if you want that go for it. 
  • Chipotle in Adobo Sauce.  This is warm but it’s not like Vindaloo, I like this brand (below) see if you can get it,  if not, I’m sure your supermarket has something similar.

Cooking Smoky Pulled Pork in an oven

This is my Breville smart oven; it’s what I use as a slow cooker. I love it because it has loads of functions. Check out the control panel in the image below. Got to love an appliance that does more than one thing.

Desktop oven.


How do you get so much flavour in your slow-cooked meals?

Apart from “Use Quality Ingredients”, I brown everything first.  Really brown, don’t muck about.

Why do you char the meat?

Charring is to give the meat a more prominent flavour.  Have you heard of the Maillard reaction?

Why add onions to pulled pork?

The onions will add a little sweetness but also some liquid for the slow cooking.  If you need more liquid you can add 100g of apple juice. You can do this if your meat doesn’t have much fat, but if you’ve got your hands on an Asian style cut of pork neck you’ll be fine without the apple juice.

More meal ideas with pulled pork

  • Pulled pork burritos, 
  • Pulled Pork Burgers, 
  • Pulled Pork in a Bahn Mi Roll, 
  • Pulled Pork Taco, 
  • Pulled pork on a plate with salad, in fact, 
  • Mexican or Texas BBQ, and it will do just fine dished up anywhere.  I’ve even used leftovers in 
  • Smoky Pulled Pork Pies, and they’re delicious. I try to have leftovers, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. ?

Want to know more about flavour?

If you’re a serious flavour addict like me, I’ve got two brilliant ideas you may be interested in.  First, as I’ve mentioned earlier, there are my spice blend eBooks. You pay for one and get the second one free here. 

Then there’s my course called  “A bit on the side“  This course has 4 modules that include 4 recipe eBooks plus lessons and videos of tips and techniques.  So many recipes you’ll not know which to make first. ??? It’s great value.

A bit on the side

Step by Step

I’ve given you 3 choices on how to slow-cook this pork but at it’s most basic this is how you do it. 

  1. Make up the spice blend. 
  2. Mix the chipotle sauce, salt and spice blend together 
  3. Massage the paste into your pork neck
  4. Char the pork neck (choose one of the methods I’ve given you)
  5. Add the sliced onions to the pork neck
  6. Slow cook it.  

I don’t think it gets much easier than that!

Raw pork with smoky spice paste.
Pork covered in spice blend (uncooked)
Smoky spiced pork ready to go back into the oven with onions.
Pork thats been browned and ready to start the slow cook

Charred to give the meat a more prominent flavour. The onions will add a little sweetness but also some liquid for the slow cooking.  You can add 100 ml of apple juice if your meat doesn’t have much fat, but if you’ve got your hands on an Asian style cut pork neck, you’ll be fine without it.

Pulling Pork with a fork smoky pork

Bec’s Smoky Spice Blend

4.80 from 5 votes

5 stars tells us you love the recipe

How to make Smoky Pulled Pork without turning on the Smoker! This is a beautifully easy way to make pulled pork with lots of flavour. Try it I'm sure you'll love it!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Method Conventional


  • 5 g chilli flakes
  • 7 g Bell pepper flakes if you can’t find these leave them out but you may find them in a deli or Indian supermarket
  • 15 g smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves dried
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp star anise powder
  • 60 g dark brown sugar
  • 15 g salt


  • Add all ingredients to a jar.
  • Shake the jar until mixed.
Pulling Pork with a fork smoky pork

Bec’s Smoky Pulled Pork

4.84 from 6 votes

5 stars tells us you love the recipe

Slow cooked smoky pull pork, with 3 cooking options to suit every kitchen.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Course Slow Cook
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Method Conventional


  • Pot with lid or slow cooker


  • 2-3 Tablespoons Bec's Smoky Spice Blend. Or Maybe find a store bought one and follow instructions?
  • 2 Teaspoon Salt – I use flaked Pink Murray if you only have table salt use 1 tsp
  • 2 Tablespoon Chipotle in Adobo Sauce. I use La Costena brand from Woolworths, but you could use any brand you like, It's not that hot when it's cooked off
  • 1 whole pork neck. 1.6kg I a whole Pork Neck from an Asian butcher, if you don't have one around you ask for a whole scotch fillet but ask them to leave the fat on. The fat is good for slow cooking it will render down leaving your meat super tender You can use a shoulder if the neck isn't available.
  • 1 large onion sliced



  • Add the spice blend, salt and chipotle to a small bowl and mix to combine. Make a paste out of it then massage it all over the pork.
  • Place the pork into a baking tray.
  • It depends on where you have your time, at the beginning of the day or the end here's three methods for you

Method 1

  • You can roast this at 200c for 1/2 an hour to 1 hour then remove from the oven and add the onion and cover tightly with foil or a lid.
  • Drop the temperature to 110 and cook for 6 hours or until tender. The length of time here depends on you and the pork. If the pork has a fair bit of fat through it (nice pork necks do they'll be ok with the longer roast)

Method 2

  • Cover with foil or a lid and cook in the oven or slow cooker at 110c for 8 hours.
  • If you want the outside of your pork to be browned off just remove the foil or lid and turn the oven temp up to 200c until you're happy. It should only take another 20 mins or so.

Method 3

  • Brown off your pork neck in a frying pan.
  • Add it to your slow cooker with the onions and cook as per your slow cooker instructions


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